Content guidelines are the unsung hero behind engaging and consistent content. They’re the “secret sauce” that maintains your brand voice across all content types and touchpoints. Ultimately, content guidelines help you deliver compelling and unified customer experiences — no matter how people come into contact with your organization.
What are Content Guidelines?
|Content guidelines are the foundation of your enterprise content strategy. Often documented in a content style guide, they unite all of your content contributors — no matter where they work — and help them to standardize their writing style and tone. Content guidelines keep all writers on message and speaking in your brand voice.
Before we jump into scaling your content guidelines, if you haven’t already, it’s time to outline them! It’s important to include guidance on different elements of language and writing style, such as:
- Tone of voice
- Product and service-related words or phrases
- Grammar guidelines
- Accessibility standards
- Inclusive language
Developing your company-specific guidelines can be challenging. It’s difficult to know where to start and what’s important. Our guide, Content Style Guides: The Path to Creating Consistent and Engaging Customer Experiences, walks you through the process and includes helpful tips. Take a look if you haven’t defined your content guidelines yet, or just want to freshen up what you already have.
It’s Time to Scale
The main problem organizations face when trying to scale their content guidelines is to ensure content creators use and adopt them.
After investing lots of time in defining and outlining guidelines, the last thing you want is to bury your style guide in a folder of PDFs, with no way to check if writers are using it. Not only does this limit your ability to update new guidance, like changes in company terminology, but it’s also unlikely writers consult the PDF for every piece of content they produce. This usually leads to editorial bottlenecks, as editors have to spend their time checking for tone, voice, and style, instead of adding high-value guidance.
In essence, if you can’t enforce and maintain your guidelines, you risk inconsistent and potentially confusing content reaching your audience — and nobody wants that!
Struggling to Enforce and Maintain?
There are lots of limitations when it comes to traditional forms of governance for content guidelines. Mainly, they just aren’t built to support today’s exploding demand for content creation. Especially in large enterprises. So, creating a content style guide document and sharing it in an email to all employees just isn’t going to cut it.
The reality of large enterprises is that they have many non-writers and subject-matter experts producing content — sometimes in a language other than their own. And when you throw external agencies and freelancers into the mix, it’s challenging to produce clear, consistent, on-brand content.
The chaos of content production can create legal risks if content isn’t carefully governed. This can be especially damaging for companies in regulated industries, where mistakes can be dangerous, reputationally damaging, and expensive. For example, lives depend on clear communication in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, such as information about dosage and side effects, and instructions about how to use medical devices.
How Technology Can Help
A better approach to enforcing and maintaining your content guidelines is to capture and digitize your content strategy. And make it available anywhere people are creating content, in the authoring tools they use.
This means your content guidelines are available to all writers, all the time. And it keeps it dynamic — so you can be sure every content creator has access to the very latest standards about the way your enterprise communicates. Whether that’s one style, or several.
Content improvement technology adds velocity to your content creation process, by guiding writers to meet your content standards. When all your content creators build content that reflects your brand, you make your strategy a reality and help your organization to speak with one clear voice.
In an increasingly digital era, it’s time to embrace modern, technology-driven forms of content governance to make sure your style guide has the impact it deserves. The benefits include:
- Easily capturing and digitizing your corporate style preferences for content.
- Aligning all writers (regardless of department or location) to your content guidelines.
- Guiding writers to create inclusive and accessible content.
- Maintaining a consistent voice, which makes your company easy to identify and recognize.
- Increasing efficiency through seamlessly integrating into your content ecosystem.
- Maximizing budget by making it easier to translate and localize your content.
- Adding velocity to your content creation process with AI and automation.
- Protecting your company against the repercussions of poorly crafted or non-compliant content.
Bring Your Content Guidelines to Life with Acrolinx
Acrolinx is an AI-powered software platform that improves the quality and effectiveness of enterprise content. We help some of the world’s most valuable brands meet complex content challenges at immense scale — across writers, languages, and cultures.
As an enterprise solution, Acrolinx optimizes the content production engine. Our platform learns how your company writes, while capturing your content guidelines and your brand voice. This automated integration of governance into the content creation process gives you consistent and compliant content — all in a way that delights your target audience.
To find out more about how Acrolinx can bring your content guidelines to life, let’s talk.